Hispanic leaders form ‘Nuestro Rio’ to focus attention on the Colorado River

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From the Nuestro Rio website:

Beginning at 10,175 feet, the Colorado River flows 1,450 miles from Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, through seven states and Mexico before emptying into the Gulf of California. Along the way, it irrigates 15% of the nation’s crops and feeds 13% of the nation’s livestock, including the Imperial Valley, which provides 80% of the country’s winter vegetables. The Colorado River also provides drinking water for our communities and recreational opportunities for our children.

The river is critical to our way of life, yet the river today is threatened by climate change, chronic drought and increasing pressures from development. In the past decade, we’ve used up nearly half of the Colorado River water now in reservoirs. Those reservoirs, including Lake Mead, are now almost half empty—risking the water supply to our urban and rural communities, agriculture, and small businesses across the region.

From the Associated Press (Catharine Tsai) via the Albuquerque Journal:

As western U.S. cities propose water projects to claim their share of scarce river water, Nuestro Rio, which is Spanish for “Our River,” wants to make sure Hispanic voices are heard. “This is what’s important,” said Nita Gonzales, president and chief executive officer of Escuela Tlatelolco Centro de Estudios in Denver. “Oftentimes we are not at the table around environmental issues.”

The group has received some funding from the Western Conservation Foundation but describes itself as a grass-roots effort, according to Nuestro Rio event organizer Amber Tafoya. Tafoya, also executive director of the Latina Initiative in Denver, said the river’s health might not be as high a priority for Hispanics as jobs, health care and immigration policy, but the availability of water affects all three issues. “If you don’t have water, you’re forced to migrate. If you don’t have water, you are not in good health. Jobs are hard to do without access to water,” she said…

“We’re so excited to have Latino leadership saying we need to be part of that conversation and part of the action,” Gonzales said.

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

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